Where are our priorities, people?
At my hairstylist’s earlier this week, I picked up a copy of US Weekly. I read celebrity magazines about once every 2-3 months... when I visit my hairstylist.
On the cover was a slim and very un-postpartum Mariah Carey, boasting about her 30-pound weight loss in just 3 months and only 6 months after giving birth to twins.
Are you $%*@! kidding me?
I know there are women who lose weight very rapidly in postpartum. I’ve met women who are back at their pre-pregnancy weight only weeks after giving birth, due mostly to the fact that they find it difficult to get food actually deposited into their mouths in the whirlwind that is new motherhood, coupled with a naturally high metabolism and/or a naturally low appetite. Some are just as stressed at the loss of curves as others of us are at the abundance of them.
But, come ON! Mariah Carey is, with all due respect, not a woman who struggles to keep weight on. Even before babies, she was a curvy woman whose weight fluctuated regularly, fuelling these pregnancy rumours long before they were true. Even I know that, and I’m hopelessly out of touch when it comes to celebrity and pop culture.
Far be it from me to judge a woman for putting on a few pounds with a bun in the oven (do we have to be reminded how apeshit I went for Pizza Hut in my first pregnancy?), but I’d bet my life Mariah gained twice that 30 pounds that she’s willing to talk about... and maybe then some. She was only a few months pregnant in the photo below.
Looks like she’d probably hit that 30-pound mark already. I suspect admitting how much weight she had actually gained and lost in such a short period of time might have raised even the usual US Weekly reader’s eyebrows, so her publicist rounded down to a nice, plausible number. Admitting you’ve lost 75 pounds in 6 months while raising two newborns might beg the question, “are you yourself actually raising said newborns?”
Whether she lost 30 pounds or more, how did she take it off in just 6 months? Simple. She went on Jenny Craig and starved herself. She ate a 1,500 calorie diet to start, then a 1,200 calorie diet more recently to accelerate your results.
Wait a minute! 1,200 calories... breastfeeding... it doesn’t add up.
The LaLeche League recommends no fewer than 1,800 calories per day when breastfeeding in order to maintain adequate milk supply and quality. This is what I counsel my personal training clients & Belly Bootcamp mommies to adhere to. Of course, there are places around the world where women subsist on fewer than 1,800 calories per day and still produce some milk. But most of us don’t suffer a shortage of food in North America and we can enjoy the luxury of enough calories to support not just breastfeeding but maintain our muscles and bone mass while doing so.
So why should it be a miracle cover story when a public figure reduces herself to the caloric intake of a 7-year old immediately after giving birth to not one, but two babies? I mean, two babies at the same time, ladies!
Time for some new role models."
Now here's a little tidbit that might throw you for a loop... I don't bake much. I know. Shocking. I cook daily. Baking? Not so much.
The trouble with baking is twofold:
you have to clean up after you bake
you have to NOT EAT everything you just made after you bake
These are two challenges to which I don't care to subject myself on a regular basis.
When I was pregnant I baked all. the. time. And I gained weight. Thumbs up! I was pregnant. Now I am not pregnant and baking is a very occasional treat around our house. See, I don't tolerate grains very well and limit my carbohydrates somewhat... and I've yet to find a baking recipe that does not involve grains. sugar. fruit. carbohydrates in general. Which is, of course, why baked goods are so freaking delicious.
When I do bake I try to choose recipes that provide some nutritional value. I don't, however, buy into the whole putting black beans in your brownies and subbing in carob for good old-fashioned chocolate. I believe treats should taste like treats. Because they are, well, treats. Kids (and adults) should enjoy the taste, texture and excitement of a delicious treat.
Did I mention I am drinking a glass of red wine as I write this?
Here's a great compromise. One of my favourite muffin recipes that rivals a cakey bakery muffin, with a fraction of the sugar, fat and tons more fiber. It tastes like a treat and it is a treat. It just isn't going to give you a coronary. My kids and I have made this recipe time after time after time after time, and it always tastes fantastic.
Spiced Carrot Muffins
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour (white will also do - no judgement here!)
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup plain yogurt (I recommend a higher fat yogurt, like a balkan, not a 0%)
4 tbsp. canola, grapeseed or other mild oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 carrots, shredded (about 2 to 2 1/2 cups)
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, ground
1/2 tsp. nutmeg, ground
1/2 tsp. ginger, fresh grated (or 1/4 tsp. if using dried)
Line or spray muffin tin and preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In large bowl, stir flour, sugar, powder, soda, salt & spices (except ginger if using fresh).
In separate bowl, whisk egg, yogurt, oil, vanilla and fresh ginger.
Add wet mix to dry mix and stir just until combined.
Fold carrots into batter.
Spoon into muffin tin and bake 18-20 minutes.
OK, I know what you're thinking...
A baking recipe from a personal trainer? No thanks. I'd rather take medical advice from my plumber.
Try it. I promise.
* Adapted from a recipe from Martha Stewart